SEO Workshop – Introduction to SEO

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is basically how people find websites on search engines like Google. The better we can communicate what our content is about and that it provides value or a solution, the more likely search engines will offer up our content. Google wants to ensure that when it recommends a website to its customers that it is providing the best recommendation it can.

Why is SEO important and why should we bother?

Good SEO will allow organisations to have a wider reach, greater impact, and increased revenue through its services. The first page of Google numbers 92% of all website clicks. We want to get to the top spot on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) because this means more organic traffic visiting our platforms and more students we can reach to provide support. SEO is an ongoing process.

Remember we are looking to do is optimise the content, not compromise on quality. Create content for people, not for robots On-Page and Off-Page SEO SEO can be split into two main categories, on-page and off-page SEO.

On-Page SEO

These are techniques focused on optimising websites that Student Minds has control of. On-page SEO can be divided further into 2 categories, content and code. Content is the words that appear on the website and code is how the website is built and structured. The fundamentals of the content revolve around Keywords.

Keywords, sometimes reffed to as Keyphrases are words or phrases people are searching for on Google. Success in SEO is often measured by how often and how high a website ranks with keywords associated with your site.

Example: Bloodwise wanted to increase its brand reach and awareness of the variety of blood cancers.

They also wanted to better communicate the support they provide and their new rebranded. They also wanted to increase their online donations and sign-ups for fundraising and sporting events. It is important to set out objectives before approaching SEO. Using a combination of content, keyword optimisation, and Google Ads, the organisation was able to:

  • Rank number 1 for preferred search terms
  • Increase in site traffic by 14.5% year-on-year
  • Increase in organic traffic 11.7% year-on-year
  • Increase event sign-ups for fundraising events by 79% year-on-year

Google has become quite complex over the years. It can now read and understand your content in the same way a user would.

As content creators thinking of approaching keywords, we must remember to write content for users first and optimise for SEO second. We can still use techniques like finding what keywords users are searching for to form the basis of the content or alternatively tweak the existing wording to include natural instances of our keyphrases.

But the quality of content must never suffer, and keywords should only add value.

Website EAT Score

Google determines the quality of content by using the EAT principle.

EAT stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

Google is also looking for long-form content. This allows the users to spend time and read deeply into a subject. It is recommended articles are around 600+ words to give readers enough words to have a deep understanding of the topic. Google is also looking for content that links to other authoritative websites.

Linking to other authoritative content helps validate the claims you are making and creates more connections to articles associated with the content. Having other authoritative sites link back to our platforms also boosts our SEO score.

This linking to and from websites is called backlinking and is an Off-Page SEO technique.

Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO – refers to SEO factors that focus on promoting the website across the web. Google has used backlinks to create connections and journeys for users to explore the web. All these linking websites create pathways and make up the world wide web.

Who is Responsible for SEO?

From the content team, psychotherapists, the Comms team, and even the developers who build and maintain the site. What is Readability? Readability measures how easy or hard it is to understand the text.

Readability

Your text should be “readable” so users can easily understand your thoughts and ideas.

Highly readable content also increases user engagement and decreases misinterpretation. It is good SEO practice to write content to be understood by users ages 13-14 (Flesch Kincaid grade level of 8).

“You’re not dumbing down, you’re opening up.”

Sarah Richards – Content Design Specialist (Yoast SEO)

So there are 8 main areas for readability:

  1. Transition words that tie content together
  2. Varied sentence beginnings
  3. Using words that are easy to understand
  4. Breaking up long paragraphs
  5. Subheadings break up content and make it more scannable.
  6. Keeping sentence length short
  7. Lists enable your customers to scan the content on the page
  8. Use Active voice

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